A Manhattan Assistant District Attorney is on trial for allegedly choking and slapping a woman at a bar in Kips Bay last Halloween, after the two got in an argument over her belongings.
32-year-old Kirsten Schuck testified yesterday that prosecutor Eli Cherkasky assaulted her at Failte, a bar on 2nd Avenue near 29th Street, at around 2 a.m. on November 1st of last year. Schuck told the court that she spotted Cherkasky picking up her purse and scarf and throwing them down while he searched for his coat—when she confronted him, he lunged at her. "He screamed at me, ‘You c- -t,’ and started rushing toward me,” she said, according to the Post. “I splashed beer in his face. I thought it would slow him down or stop him.”
Schuck says Cherkasky, who was dressed as Clark Kent, shoved her into a stair railing, put his hands around her throat and choked her, slapping her when she tried to push him away. Finally, they were pulled apart by two bystanders and a bartender. "I was petrified,” Schuck told the court. “I thought he was trying to kill me.”
Cherkasky, 35, has been charged with assault, menacing and criminal obstruction of breathing, and has been suspended without pay from the Manhattan district attorney’s office. His attorney claims Cherkasky never strangled Schuck, and that the woman punched him first.
"This was two young people exercising poor judgment, and nothing more," attorney Paul Shechtman said in his opening statement. “There was no assault. There was no strangulation. There was no physical menace and there was no crime.” He also claims that Schuck injured herself, falling against the stair railing after tossing her beer at Cherkasky.
A bartender at Failte confirmed that Cherkasky was visibly intoxicated that night, so much so that she eventually refused to serve him and his female companion. "They were very, very clearly drunk,” she testified.
Cherkasky, who has worked for the Manhattan DA's office since 2006, is the son of Michael Cherkasky, a former top Manhattan prosecutor who was once Eliot Spitzer's boss.